I love my work. I love the kids, the teachers and staff, the parents, my administrative team past and present; I love it all. But every now and again I have a more difficult than usual meeting, or someone is more mad or upset than usual and I need to be reminded of why I love the work. This week was one of those weeks. Perhaps, you had one too? Sometimes after a tumultuous week I seek outside counsel to remind me why I love being an educator and administrator. This week my counsel was Sonia Nieto with her book Why We Teach. I am sure many of you know her work. I hope the passage below provides you some solace when facing a future, or present, challenge as well.
“There are approximately three million teachers in the U.S. public schools. We work in grades kindergarten through high school and we teach everything from art to science to physical education and reading; some of us teach all of these things or some combination of them, and many of us see more than 100 students in a day. We teach in small schools and large, urban, rural, and suburban schools, in racially and culturally diverse schools, as well as less diverse settings. We have from 0 to 40 years of experience, and most, if given the chance, would choose teaching all over again. When asked, many of us say that we became teachers for reasons that sound old-fashioned and that seem at odds with the current national obsession with bureaucracy, accountability, and high stakes testing. In general, many of us view teaching as “a calling” of sorts and we are driven by a sense of service. In a survey of nearly 1,000 new teachers (with five years of experience or less) conducted by Public Agenda, 96% of the teachers surveyed said that they loved teaching and 76% of teachers declared that contributing to society and helping others was paramount. In most cases, most of us became teachers out of sense of mission, for love more than money. Our responses, taken together, define an idealistic group of people who share as least one significant quality: We have passion for teaching, a quality that, according to the aforementioned report, is not always appreciated, but is so valuable to the students and families we serve. Together we make a difference for children, for some children, a life changing difference.” (Nieto, 2005)
Ahhhh, I am reminded yet again of why I love this work. I hope that you are too!
As always, thank you for all that you do!
Have a nice weekend!